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Flues in Voids

Useful information for anyone with a flue concealed within a ceiling space or wall

If you live in a property (most likely a flat or apartment) which has a room sealed, fan assisted boiler with a flue which is hidden behind a ceiling or wall, then a Gas Safe registered engineer will be unable to inspect the appliance.

As the flue removes fumes from the boiler, it needs to be accessible for inspection. A blocked flue, or one in poor condition, could put you at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning (although being unable to access the flue doesn’t automatically mean that it is unsafe).

If this applies to a property you own or live in, then it’s a good idea to have inspection hatches fitted to access the flue. If a Gas Safe registered engineer visits and is unable to view the flue they will classify the appliance as 'At Risk', which means:

  • It will be shut off (with your permission)
  • It cannot be operated again until inspection hatches have been fitted in appropriate places.

Most of the affected systems are relatively new (installed since 2000), however every year they remain unchecked puts the owner/householder at further risk of them being unsafe. If you think you might have one of these appliances, there are a few options open to you, depending on the age of the property:

  • If the property is less than 2 years old, contact your builder;
  • If your home is between 2 and 10 years old, contact your home warranty provider who may be able to cover you should defects be found in the flue;
  • If the property is 10 years old or older you’ll need to contact a Gas Safe registered engineer.

However, regardless of the property’s age, it’s always a good idea to contact an appropriately qualified registered engineer – they can provide you with advice and if necessary make an assessment of the appliance to see if inspection hatches are needed.

If you’re a tenant, your landlord has a responsibility to ensure that all gas appliances in the property are checked annually and the flue is accessible.

If you have any further queries regarding this, you can refer to our list of Frequently Asked Questions. If your issue isn’t covered there, you can email us and one of our team will endeavour to respond to you.